Everybody's Heard About the Bird: The Sandpiper, Ozzy Osbourne and Marele
[Editor's Note: We all know local music and dive bars go hand-in-hand. So in the interest of merging the two together on Heard Mentality, we bring you our weekly nightlife column Dive, Dive, My Darling. Read as our bold web editor, Taylor "Hellcat" Hamby, stumbles into the dive bar scene every week to find crazy stories, meet random weirdos and guzzle good booze.]
Taylor Hamby / OC Weekly
Service isn't the name of the game at the Sandpiper. If you want hospitality, go to one of those fancy restaurants perched around downtown Laguna Beach, places where they'll kiss your ass and pretend to like you. The Sandpiper is so wonderfully out of place in this modern-day Laguna, where the billionaires gentrified out the millionaires, where Pacific Coast Highway turned into a long stretch of ritzy boutiques, art galleries and overpriced restaurants. I could only imagine how it was in the days of the Hippie Mafia--maybe it was out of place even then? After all, this bar was a high-end eatery when it opened back in the 1940s.
Nowadays, it's known and loved for being a dive bar--the dive bar. The locals call it "the Dirty Bird," and it's an accurate nickname based on the stories folks recall from the bar. My experience wasn't as wacky as some nights my Laguna friends boast about (something about being topless and a cop car . . .), but we can't all be locals.
Two bouncers greeted me as I strolled up one Tuesday night. When I walked in, it took a second to get oriented; it's a big place with a few different rooms. Drinking glasses are stacked pyramid-style on the bar back. A large surfboard floats on the ceiling. There are stickers--lots of stickers. HB stop sign lots of stickers. Oh, and there's even a tiny fish tank.
I took a seat next to two ladies who nearly instantly struck up a conversation with me, wanting to know who I am and what I do. Upon finding out I'm a reporter, the lady sitting farthest from me informed me she was a publicist for many years. "Ah, you're on the other side of the fence!" I said. "Who did you do PR for?"
"Ozzy Osbourne," she replied.
Now there's a man I wouldn't want to represent, especially in the 1980s. And guess when our new friend Marele worked for him? She said she actually ran the press conference for his "Suicide Solution" trial fiasco--you know, the time Ozzy and CBS Records were sued because an Indio teenager shot himself and the parents tried to blame the Ozz Man.